Are you aware of how hidden data could be damaging your business and costing you millions? Let’s look at some of the common forms of unwanted data that could be costing you serious money: dark data and ROT data.

Defining ROT Data and Dark Data

These two terms refer to four distinct data situations, all of which can leech away at your company’s finances. ROT is an acronym for three types of data: redundant, outdated, and trivial data.

Redundant Data

Redundancies occur when there are multiple copies of the same sets of data. This can be in addition to backups, which are an essential aspect of data management. Redundancies are common when data from different departments is not integrated, leading to data silos.

ROT and dark data costs

Outdated Data

Outdated data is information which is no longer accurate or may no longer serve a purpose over the passage of time. For example, a data file from a former client may not be very useful for your company anymore. Surveys with questions that are no longer applicable are another common source of outdated data.

Trivial Data

Trivial data is information that your company is unlikely to use or need. This kind of data is commonly generated by employees while they work on a job. It tends to linger when employees leave these working files or drafts in job folders.

Dark Data

Unlike the previous three scenarios, dark data could actually be quite useful. However, the data is “dark” because it’s not being observed or utilized. Some estimates claim that dark data represents as much as 80% of all data on a company’s servers!

The 5 Hidden Costs of ROT and Dark Data

Dark and ROT data hurt your bottom line in several ways. Here are 5 of the most significant costs that these forms of data impose on your business. Some of these are subtle, while others can have a dramatic impact on your company.

1. Data Storage

Cloud storage and data governanceThis is probably the most obvious cost of all. Data has to be stored somewhere, and storage isn’t free. If your company uses a cloud storage solution, you may be paying very little per gigabyte, but ROT adds up quickly, especially if you face cloud egress fees every time you need to access those files.

Redundancies and outdated data from backups or obsolete files could be costing you thousands of dollars in monthly storage fees alone, which adds up as data keeps growing and companies do not dispose of ROT.  Furthermore, many companies have hoarded these files on local machines, occupying valuable workspace. In addition, if you have a local server for backups, you may end up over-allocating storage resources to useless data.

The Aparavi Platform helps you identify ROT data and defensibly delete it or archive it to a less expensive storage option, saving your company a substantial amount of money.

2. Data Breaches

Breaches commonly occur when you don’t have a clear understanding of what data you have and where it is located. ROT data may be stored outside of secure file systems or on endpoints, which make that data more susceptible to breach. This is especially common when employees make their own copies of files to take home on a laptop, smart phone or thumb drive, only to lose their equipment by accident or by theft.

Data breaches can lead to costly settlements in court. Equifax settled for over a billion dollars after its servers were breached. What was the key piece of data that led to all of this damage? A file containing employee passwords was shared on the server to make it easier for employees to access each other’s files.

3. Compliance Fines

Data breaches themselves are costly, but they can be made even more expensive if they involve personally identifiable information subject to data privacy compliance. Data privacy laws such as the GDPR and CCPA protect consumers in Europe and California, respectively, but affect companies worldwide. If consumers’ data is compromised in a breach, the regulatory bodies can bring the hammer down on your business to the tune of millions of dollars.

These laws also allow individuals to request their information from your company. They may ask you to delete everything you have on file about that individual, and you must comply. If you are not aware of all of the data you possess, you could face much larger fines later on if that data is breached.

4. Opportunity Costs

Dark data means that you aren’t using your data to its fullest potential. This has a serious opportunity cost. According to the IDC, organizations that leverage all of their data can expect to see productivity gains of $430 billion over their peers. Leaving that data in the dark means leaving chances to discover new trends and identify new business paths that could lead to higher revenue.

5. Wasted Hours

The IDC also estimates that workers waste time equivalent to $5,700 a year simply trying to find relevant data. ROT makes this task even more difficult. You want your data analysts to be analyzing, not scouring through old, redundant, or trivial files.

Data protectionAnd the problem isn’t limited to your data workers either. Regular employees that deal with ROT data may make mistakes due to outdated information, for example sending an old file to a client. These mistakes take time to fix, further reducing productivity in the workplace.

So, how can you keep your employees working at their best while also preventing the problems we’ve discussed here? Aparavi has the answer.

An Intelligent Solution

Aparavi’s intelligent data management platform allows you to find and move or defensibly delete both ROT and dark data from your business. Aparavi scans and labels data across your entire enterprise, whether your data is stored locally, on servers, at the edge, or in the cloud. You can even connect proprietary applications to Aparavi using our API.

Once connected, Aparavi analyzes your unstructured data and determines which data can be discarded and which should be kept. Conflicts between files can be quickly identified and resolved. What’s more, your employees’ data can be indexed, breaking down data silos and preventing further duplication of ROT data.

Contact Aparavi today. We can identify the key areas where your business might be affected by bad data management practices and help you resolve those issues in no time. Data is only going to grow: it’s time to get intelligent about how you handle it.